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Trinity Church

Early postcard views and
a report of the Laying of the Foundation Stone

Trinity Church around 1900

Trinity Church from a tinted postcard of 1906 looking east.

Trinity Church from the east

Trinity Church from a tinted postcard of c.1906 looking west from St Leonards Road.


Laying the Foundation Stone of
the New Church at Windsor

4th April 1842

A Contemporary Report from
the Windsor and Eton Express at the time

See also Churches in Windsor

Additional photographs will be added to this story shortly.

I am indebted to Richard J Heaton for the following transcription


Laying the Foundation Stone of
the New Church at Windsor, April 1842

Our readers in this immediate vircinity are aware it has long been a matter of complaint that there was not sufficient accommodation in the parish church for those who would desire to go there, and that in consequence a public subscription was set on foot for the erection of a new sacred edifice in a field adjoining Clarence crescent, not only to meet the demands made for church accommodation by the parishoners, but also that required by the two regiments of troops stationed in Windsor. Hitherto those subscriptions have been most liberal, and amount to between £4,000 and £5,000, which is about two thirds of the whole sum necessary for the undertaking; exclusive of which, our spirited townsman, Mr. Bedborough, liberally presented the ground site of the church. Among the subscribers are her Majesty £210, his Royal Highness Prince Albert £105, her Majesty the Queen Dowager £50, the Woods and Forests £360, the Dean and Chapter of Windsor £200, the Provost and Fellows of Eton £150, two grants from the Church Union Society £100, Messrs, Nevile Reid and Co. £100. W. H. Trant Esq. (late M. P. for Dover) £100, E. Meyrick, Esq. £100, the Rev. E. Coleridge £200, the Bishop of New Zealand £25, the Rev. Dr. Hawtrey, £100, Captain Bulkeley £25, the Rev. S. Hawtrey £100, the Rev. W. G. Cookesley £25, the Rev. Isaac Gosset £100, the late Provost of Eton £50, and the late Sir J. Wyatville £35. The architect is Edw. Blore, Esq., and the contractors are Messrs Thomas Bedborough and Jenner, builders.
  An application having been made by the Rev. Isaac Gosset, the vicar of this parish, at the request of the committee, to his Royal Highness Prince Albert to lay the foundation stone, his royal highness was graciously pleased to acquiesce, and Monday morning last was fixed for the ceremony to take place. In the meantime the most active preparations were made by the committee and the builders to secure good accommodation for the great number of persons who were expected to be present on the occasion. Spacious temporary galleries were erected for the purpose, and long before the period fixed for the arrival of his royal highness, the appearance of the crowds collected, and the troops and charity children was highly interesting. The whole of the Royal Horse Guards, not on garrison duty, were assembled under the command of Col. Richardson, with their excellent band; the whole of the 72nd Highlanders, not on garrison duty, under the command of Col. Arbuthnot, with their band, were also in attendance. The greatest order was preserved; and so excellent had been the arrangements, that no disorder prevailed during the whole of the proceedings. We should say that there could not have been less than seven thousand persons present, among whom, besides the numerous body of clergymen in this vircinity, were many of the neighbouring gentry. Of the charity schools there were the following:- The National School of Windsor, headed by the master and mistress, Mr and Mrs. Harvey, comprising 180 girls, and 190 boys; the Free School of Windsor, headed by Mr and Mrs. Stephenson; Lady Harcourt's School, Clewer Green, headed by Mr and Mrs. Spicer, consisting 140 girls and boys; the Royal Horse Guards School, under Mr and Mrs. Casson, consisting of 54 boys, and 48 girls; the Dedworth School, under Mrs. Gardiner; and the 72nd Highlander's School, under Mr. Haskow, consisting of 49 boys and girls.
  At ten o'clock the Mayor and Corporation assembled in the Council chamber of the Town-hall, where also the clergy of this town and Eton and its neighbourhood, and some of the inhabitants, met to accompany them in procession to the site of the new church.
  The procession of the mayor, the corporation, the clergy &c., having arrived on the ground, they formed in files to receive his royal highness Prince Albert on his arrival, which took place at about eleven o'clock. The Prince on alighting from his carriage, at the east end of the church, (attended by Colonel Bouverie and Mr. G. E. Anson) was received by the troops presenting arms, and the two military bands playing the national anthem; and on walking towards the spot at the west end, where the ceremonial of laying the stone was to take place, his royal highness was most enthusiastically cheered by the immense assemblage. His royal highness was attired in the Windsor uniform, as were Colonel Bouverie and Mr. Anson.
  The Prince having taken his station at the west end of the ground, very near the stone, and being surrounded by the clergy and the mayor and corporation, the proceedings were commenced by the Rev. Mr. Gould, curate of Clewer, reading a prayer suitable for the occasion, after which succeeded the reading of a Psalm, the response being made by the people. Then followed the 100th Psalm, "All people that on earth do dwell," sang by the numerous charity children, and accompanied in beautiful style by the two military bands united.
  The Hon. and Rev. the Dean of Windsor then advanced and read to the Prince the following address:-

May it please your Royal Highness,

Among the many places in her Majesty's dominions, where the population has outgrown the means of religious instruction, the town of Windsor, distinguished above others as the Sovereign's residence, must be numbers. Its population amounts to nearly 10,000, and without including the Royal Chapel of St. George, there is only church room for not so many as 1,600 persons. Of the inhabitants, a large number, chiefly of the lower classes, crowded together in the back streets and lanes of the town, have no direct connection with the parish church of Windsor. The spire of their church may be seen rising in the neighbouring village of Clewer. But independently of that church being only a size proportioned to the population of the country part of the parish, the connection between the town of Windsor and the village of Clewer, is often interrupted in the winter months by the rising of the water in the Thames, that the humbler classes have almost entirely discontinued their attendance at church, and have grown up in a state of great ignorance and irreligion. Chiefly to supply the wants of the population thus situated; to bring the ministrations of religion home to them; to place among them a clergyman who shall, by pastoral care, seek to bring them back to the fold of Christ, watch over their spiritual and temporal welfare, and provide that their children shall be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, this church is placed in the centre of the district so described. But there is yet another object in the erection of this church, which your royal highness will hear with no less pleasure; for, deeply interested as your royal highness is in the welfare of all classes of her Majesty's subjects, there is no class, we are assured, whose well-being engages more of your royal highness's attention than that of the British army. As a royal residence, there is always a large and important body of troops stationed in this town; how large and important may be judged if we look around us, and mark the numbers which are assembled this day to be present at the performance of a ceremony in which they are all deeply concerned; for, with the concurrence of her Majesty's government, in this church, situated midway between the two barracks, the soldiers stationed in Windsor will assemble for Divine worship. Here they will partake of the ordinances of the Christian religion, - here they will be instructed out of the pure and lively Word of God; and here the soldier's children, many of whom stand at this time before us, will be catechised and instructed in the fear of the Lord. And shall be suppose that these soldiers will do their duty to their country with less of loyalty in their hearts because they have been taught to fear God and honour the Queen ? These are the purposes for contemplated in the erection of this church. Her most gracious Majesty and your Royal Highness have been pleased to be associated in this charitable design; and the hearty desires of all classes are fulfilled on this auspicious day, on which your royal highness is about to lay the corner stone of a church to be erected on this spot, and dedicated to the sole honour and glory of the holy, eternal, and undivided Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And may that holy, blessed, and most glorious Trinity, three persons and one God, of his infinite mercy grant that so long as this stone lies embedded in the walls of this church. He who is alone the living stone may be manifested in this place as the only sure foundation of sinner's hope. May they who shall worship in this temple, to the end of time, as lively stones, be built up a spiritual house, hereafter to be placed as pillars in the temple of the Heavenly Jerusalem, to go out no more for ever! And may the especial blessing of Almighty God rest upon our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria, beneath whose rightful sceptre the walls of this sanctuary now arise. May that effort which distinguished her Majesty's reign, and in which her Majesty unites herself with her people, of providing means of religious worship for all classes of her Majesty's subjects, be crowned with this Divine blessing. And may it be your royal highness's happiness to see her Majesty's reign for many years in the hearts of a loyal and devoted people. May peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety so flourish in her days, that the latest generation may rise up and call her blessed.

At the conclusion of the Dean's speech, the plans of the proposed building were submitted to his royal highness, who minutely inspected them and appeared to be much gratified with them. After his royal highness had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the details of the proposed erection, he handed the plans to Mr. G. E. Anson, who took charge of them. During the Prince's inspection of the plans, the military bands played some beautiful sacred music.
  The Very Reverend Dr. Hodgson, the provost of Eton College, then advanced to Prince Albert, with various coins of her Majesty's reign on a silver salver, and presented them to his royal highness. He said, addressing the Prince, that those coins were to be deposited in the foundation of the church at the erection of which his royal highness was then assisting, and he trusted that the building would tend to contribute to the glory of God and to the happiness of the souls committed to its care. [Owing to the bands continuing to play, the observations of the reverend doctor were very imperfectly heard].
  His royal highness then proceeded to the duty of laying the stone. The coins were first placed in a glass provided for the purpose, which again was placed in an earthen pot, and the whole deposited in a receptacle made in the under stone by Mr. Jenner, one of the builders.
  The Rev. Dr. Hawtrey, head master of Eton College, after a few preliminary observations to his royal highness, read the inscription on the plate which was to cover the coins. The inscription was read in Latin, and also in English. The following was the translation:-

Of This Church, -
Built And Dedicated To The Most Holy Trinity
By The Voluntary Contributions
Of The Faithful In This Neighbourhood,
To the Intent, That
The Daily Increasing Number Of Parishioners,
And The Military Quartered At Windsor
Might No Longer Want A Place,
Where Both Together Might Join
In The Common Prayer Of Christians, -
The First Stone Was Laid
By His Royal Highness
The Prince Albert Of Saxe Coburg Gotha
The August Consort
Of Our Sovereign Lady,
Queen Victoria,
On The IV Day Of April, In The Year Of Our Lord

The reverend gentleman, after reading the inscription, presented to the Prince the copy of it, and the translation beautifully printed on white satin and edged with gold fringe.
  His Royal Highness then received the silver trowel from Mr. Jenner. On it was the following inscription:-

This Trowel was presented to
His Royal Highness Prince Albert
K.G., G.C.B., K.P., &c.
for the purpose of laying
the first stone
Of the Holy Trinity Church in the
Borough of New Windsor
On the 4th day of April 1842.

By Messrs. Bedborough and Jenner, builders.
Edward Blore, Esq., architect.

The ceremony of laying the stone was then performed by the Prince, and it was remarked that his royal highness laid the mortar in a masterly style. The bands during the ceremony played a lively air, and the stone was lowered into its appointed place, after which Mr. Jenner presented the mallet and level, his royal highness completed that portion of the ceremony, amidst the cheers of the people.
  A prayer was then read by the Rev. Isaac Gosset, after which a portion of the National Anthem was sung by the charity children, accompanied by the Bands. His royal highness and attendants then, taking leave of several of the clergy near him, entered his carriage and left the ground on his return to the Castle, amidst the same loud plaudits that greeted his arrival. The day was remarkably fine, and the scene altogether was highly interesting. We heard it remarked by several gentlemen that it was most gratifying to observe many of the leading dissenters of this town and neighbourhood present at the ceremony.

Robberies During the above Ceremony

We understand that several persons had their pockets picked in the crowd during the above proceedings, and among those who were thus losers was Ralph Neville, Esq., one of our borough members. The hon gentleman did not discover his loss until he felt for his purse, with a view of subscribing to the Windsor Steeple Chase, when he was surprised to find that the purse, and the contents of six sovereigns were gone.

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